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Organizing Your Hipster PDA

Fans of the Hipster PDA have been cropping up around the Interweb, so I thought I’d share my favorite hack for organizing your cards on the go. Like the Hipster PDA itself, it’s a lo-fi no-brainer, but I’ve found it a useful and durable way to keep things straight.

If you’ve gotten in the habit of carrying a stack of cards around, you may notice it can be confusing to quickly see which cards are “fresh” and which ones are “used.” This can lead to hilarity like handing one potential client a card with a note about another on the unexamined back of the card. Mostly, though, it’s just annoying to have to juggle a bunch of loose cards plus your space pen while rushing to jot something down.

Start by adding two non-white cards—in the color of your choosing—to the bottom of a pile of fresh cards; we’ll call the bottom one the “end card” and the next one up, the “divider card.” Next, write “END” or “BACK” in big, bold letters on the out-facing side of the bottom card (so you can quickly see which side is down by both color and text).

Each time you’ve finished writing a note for yourself on the blank top card, remove it, and place it in front of the colored end card; if this is your first card you've added, you'll now have one white card between the end and divider cards. See where this is going? Continue doing this for each subsequent note you make to yourself, adding that freshly-written-on card directly in front of your end card.

Diagram - Organizing your Hipster PDA

(Apologies to Tom for ganking his lovely handwriting.)

This method ensures that your “fresh stack” is clearly delineated from the stored, to-process cards. Also, as you notice your divider card creeping closer to the top of the stack, you have a ready visual cue that it's time to replenish your supply of fresh cards. Just as importantly, though, it's a good reminder that it's time to process your pile. Whenever you get back home or to the office, remove and process the oldies, and add a stack of fresh ones.

Got a good hack for using, organizing, or processing your Hipster PDA?

luke's picture

i started using 2 colored...

i started using 2 colored cards to break my pda up into 3 sections: top level: inbox/note taking. this is where i write things to be processed later. all the blank cards are in this section, i write on the top one.

divider 1 in between the 2 dividers (which are brightly colored, so they stand out against the white normal cards), i put all the cards that were on top but are filled up. so this is like inbox storage. when i get home I pull these out and throw them in my inbox tray.

divider 2 back section: on the back section cards i write my things to do today, things i pulled from lifebalance or my 43 at home, to do at work. this is a huge distinction for me. an example of why: i'm at work with a book on my desk. when i get home, i need to run that book next door to my neighboor, say, after dinner. well, my review isn't till tomorrow, so if i write that into an inbox card and file in the middle of my stack, and then dump them in the inbox tray at home, odds are i'm not going to see it until tomorrow. short term notes, outbox/support things and reminders need to be kept seperate for me from the normal inbox collection, so they go on the back. i just flip the Hipster over to see things that i should try and do during the day.

also, just for laughs, as part of my scheduling out the next block of commitments, i wrote out my next two weeks worth of calender on index cards, one week per card. keeping this underneath that "today's list" card is pretty handy, but i dont know if i'll bother to maintain ("sync") it regularly or not.

does anyone else have a good calendar system for their hipster pda?




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